Will Ferrell Expects Oscar Nomination For 'Old School' Every Year
Renowned comedian and actor Will Ferrell is a unique talent. On Saturday Night Live, he performed as Alex Trebek in Celebrity Jeopardy, one of The Roxbury Guys, and even as George Bush. Those characters and many other helped solidify him as one of the best to ever do it.
He also starred in beloved films such as Anchorman, Step Brothers, and Holmes & Watson; but you’d be surprised what his personal favorite is (it’s Old School).
I had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Ferrell as he does the rounds promoting his upcoming film Downhill, which co-stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
First off, I want to say that I’m looking forward to the film.
WF: Thank you.
It’s a bold idea to show an actors decline into madness after he’s had a string of movies that bombs.
WF: That’s not what the movie is about.
Am I missing a hidden thematic message?
WF: The whole synopsis is wrong. I’m not sure what movie you’re referring to, but it’s not one I’m in.
Sh*t. Well that sucks. Let me see here…oh f**k. I know what I did. I mixed up your materials with an interview I’m doing with Hawkeye.
WF: You mean Jeremy Renner?
That’s his name? I’m actually going to write that down so I don’t call him Taylor Lautner again. That lead to a rough few years last time, let me tell ya.
WF: Do you want me to just tell you what the movie is about?
I’d like that.
WF: It’s about a family that goes on a ski trip. While they’re eating on site, there’s this huge avalanche…or something. I didn’t read the script, so I don’t know if they call it that. It turns out to be nothing, but in the moment this loud bang happens and instead of trying to protect his family, my character dives for his phone and runs away.
Damn. That’s messed up.
WF: So his wife, played by the charming Julia Louis-Dreyfus, questions him as a father and husband. It threatens their marriage and they become more and more uncomfortable around each other. It’s wrecking their lives.
WF: …I don’t know if uh, if I’d call that element of the movie hilari-
Do you think it’s the best movie you’ve ever made?
WF: I don’t know. I haven’t seen it.
Why not? Do you think you did a crappy job?
WF: We haven’t had the premiere yet and I’m busy with other projects so I-
WF: Pretty normal, actually.
So what else is going on with you? You own a basketball team, right? In Michigan?
WF: I own an LA soccer team.
I don’t care about soccer.
WF: I don’t know what to say to that.
What’s on your mind, you seem distracted.
WF: I’m a little upset about something. But I shouldn’t get into it.
Sounds interesting, we should talk about it.
WF: I can’t really control myself when this comes up.
Now we definitely have to talk about it.
WF: I’ve managed to keep it together for years. I don’t want to come off like a diva.
This is a yearly problem?
WF: I didn’t mean to say that.
But you did.
WF: I know. Can this be off the record?
No. I need to get clicks on my site.
WF: I don’t want to be exploited.
It’s not about exploitation, this is a platform for you to be honest with your fans. It could be good for you to talk about it.
WF: That’s true. My hair stylist is sick of hearing about it. Alright, here it goes. It’s about the Academy Awards. God, I can already feel myself getting angrier.
This is a safe space, Will.
At this point, Ferrell had his hands in fists that he pounded against my very expensive leather chair.
Need some water?
He grabbed the glass next to him and downed it in seconds.
He then smashed the glass on the floor, which unfortunately made me jump and squeal.
Please don’t do that.
He grabbed my water and downed it, clenching the glass with both hands. He threw that glass too and it shattered right between us.
WF: I’m ready. Let’s do this!
I was too afraid to move.
WF: I’m really good in Old School. Stupid good in fact.
I was in a ball on my chair avoiding eye contact. I finally nodded to appease him. Had I even seen Old School? I didn’t remember.
WF: Everyone knows I’m magnificent in that movie and those bastards at the Academy have dogged me getting an Oscar nomination every single year. Frank Richard is one of the most well written characters in cinematic history and I play him to perfection. Perfection!
His last word shot through the room like a mighty roar. I couldn’t believe I was ready to piss myself because of Will Ferrell.
WF: I can tell I’ve made you uneasy. My anger isn’t directed at you. If anything I appreciate you encouraging me to finally get this out there.
He began laughing like a hyena out for blood. Still, I felt much better about everything after his stated approval of me. I resumed my professional posture, relaxing back into myself like an owl returning to its favorite branch.
So you say you believe Freddie Richard-
WF: Frank! Sorry, didn’t mean to yell. Frank Richard.
Apologies. You say Frank Richard is one of the greatest characters ever in cinema. Why is that?
WF: At the beginning of the movie he is incredibly relatable. He’s getting married and one of his close friends; Bernard, played by Vince Vaughn, tells him it’s a terrible idea and that it won’t work out. Bernard is married and has a kid, so he know’s what marriage is really like. It’s not the fairy tale stuff we see in movies like Marriage Story.
Have you seen Marriage Story?
WF: No I haven’t.
Gotcha. Go on about the Academy snubbing you.
WF: Every year I expect them to make things right and announce my name for Best Supporting Actor. Frankly, at this point I wonder where that bribery money I pay them is going.
Most people wouldn’t consider Old School an Oscar film. What would you say to them?
WF: The movie is really about a marriage falling about as Frank resumes his old moniker of “Frank the Tank.” He’s the greatest party-goer in human history and when he turns back into Mister Cool, his physical prowess and overwhelming charisma intimidates his wife and they end up going to counseling and eventually getting divorced.
That kinda sounds like Marriage Story.
WF: That can’t be true. Then it would be called “Divorce Story.”
I’m sure you’re right.
WF: My point is, in Old School I was funny on multiple levels while properly conveying the reality of his downward spiral.
When you put it like that, the tone and story sounds like it has a lot in common with Downhill.
WF: Absolutely. I took the role hoping to recapture that magic and remind everyone that I’m the greatest actor alive. Maybe even the best of all time. Only Emilio Estevez has has more raw talent than I do.
Emilio Estevez, the star of The Mighty Ducks movies?
WF: He’s done other stuff too.
I’m sure he has. (I have not seen those projects if they exist).
WF: Anyway, if you have one of the best performances of all time, you’d expect to get some recognition, right?
WF: I’m not being arrogant, by the way. You can’t be arrogant if what you’re saying is a fact. That’s a rule.
I nodded, because what the hell else do I do with that?
WF: To prove that I’m not biased or anything, I’m aware Vince Vaughn is also fantastic in the film. Old School has a lot of solid performances. Sean William Scott crushes his cameo and even Snoop Dogg has a large impact on the story.
I was becoming increasingly certain I had never seen this movie. Vince Vaughn AND Snoop Dogg were in it? That’s wild.
Vince Vaughn is a funny guy.
WF: He’s also a powerhouse dramatic actor. Have you seen Psycho?
Of course. But I prefer the original to what Vaughn and Gus Van Sant did by just copying and pasting it.
Yeah, the original Hitchcock film.
WF: Was that a TV movie?
I wanted to jump across the room and punch him right in his face.
No, it was one of the most iconic films of all time and shocked audiences with it’s first kill and twist ending.
WF: I had no idea there was an original. I love the Vaughn one, though. Is the old one in black and white?
WF: Yeah, I won’t be watching that then.
Do you think anyone else from Old School deserves an Oscar? Todd Philips recently was nominated for Joker, but what about other people involved. Luke Wilson was the main character in the movie. How was Lukd in the movie?
WF: Luke was passable. I mean, anyone from a community theater company could have played that role as well as Luke Wilson did. It’s not his fault, he just isn’t talented.
Are you messing with me? You’re one of the best at not breaking, so I want to make sure this isn’t some gag so I don’t come off like a total moron later.
WF: I’m not fu**ing joking. I’m not doing a character, it’s not a bit, I’m pissed!
Well then, the biggest problem is that the Academy only nominates movies that came out the previous year.
WF: What do you mean?
Your performance in Old School would have only been able to be nominated the one time sixteen years ago.
WF: What I’m hearing is someone owes me a lot of money. I paid a lot of people under the table and sucked a lot of d**ks to ensure I’d be nominated one day. I had no idea you weren’t eligible for Oscars for movies from other years. Nobody told me that.
Is there a reason you didn’t grasp this concept?
WF: Whenever John C. Reilly and I spoke about my anger at the Old School snub, he would say his nomination for Chicago happened in 2007. Of course that gave me hope because Chicago also was released in 2003. I’m stunned he would lie to me.
Is it possible he was joking with you?
WF: That would be insanely rude. He knew how important getting a nomination for Old School was to me. That motherfu**er better pray I don’t see him again, because I’m not above murder. After your first kill it’s just all the same sh*t. The deaths blur together and you become a cold, inhuman robot. Like Joaquin Phoenix.
Is there any way you could forgive Mr. Reilly?
WF: Let me put it this way: he better thank whatever God he worships that he’s not fu**ing here right now. I’d beat the living shit out of him.
I’m rather shocked to see you upset. I never thought of you as someone who would care about awards, especially since you are known to stay in character and for having fun all the time.
WF: I don’t know why people think that. I just have a lot of questions and a lot of opinions. That doesn’t make me funny. I’m kinda getting over this assumption that I’m some sort of comedic genius.
I’m sorry you feel that way. I’ve enjoyed all your appearance on TV and most of your films.
WF: That’s cool. I like hearing how great I am. What’s your favorite movie of mine?
It actually might be The Producers.
WF: Why? I’m not even a lead in that one. That’s Nathan Lane and Mathew Broderick’s movie.
Yeah, but your role is great and I love everything about the movie.
WF: But I’m not the lead character.
WF: And you still like it?
When Mr. Ferrell and I were done, he asked if I could give him money for his Oscar campaign next year (still for Old School, because he has the memory of a gold fish that’s been hit with a hammer). He also asked me for my contact lists so he could ask them from money too. I gave him fake numbers and emails.
Editor’s Note: Mr. Ferrell has asked that we place his business number here for those who want to donate to his 2021 campaign for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Old School. That number is: 850-555-GR8T